With Black Friday (or Black Thursday Night, in some cases!) just around the corner, everyone's preparing to load their shopping carts and stuff stockings with end-of-the-year goodies. In anticipation of that, we at Anime.About.com have a rundown of the best anime-themed gifts for the season -- both new releases and catalog titles from earlier this year.
Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse (compare prices on Blu-ray/DVD) and Naruto Shippuden: The Movie - The Will of Fire (compare prices on Blu-ray/DVD). There's a little something under the tree for fans of both of these long-running epic shows -- two theatrical films, on both BD & DVD. In Hell Verse, Ichigo and his friends have to contend with nothing sort of a rebellion in Hades itself; in The Will of Fire, everyone's favorite orange-clad ninja (well, orange and black these days) is thrust into the middle of an all-out war between four nations.
Children who Chase Lost Voices (From Deep Below) (compare prices on Blu-ray/DVD). One of the major events of Otakon 2011 was the premiere of this striking film from Makoto Shinkai, whose ambitions have put him in the same category as Hayao Miyazaki, for which this film serves as a tribute to that man's work. For fans of the Miyazaki/Ghibli production team, as well as anyone fond of thoughtful fantasy.
Grave of the Fireflies (compare prices on Blu-ray). A DVD edition of this masterpiece was released earlier this year, but the Blu-ray Disc edition is an even better way to experience its heartbreaking power. For anyone who's interested in animation as a storytelling medium, not just anime fans.
Ninja Scroll (compare prices on Blu-ray/DVD). For those who have outgrown Naruto. Anime titles rarely get more seminal than this, and now the legendary Ninja Scroll has returned in a remastered edition on both DVD and Blu-ray.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: The Complete Series (Blu-ray limited edition) (compare prices). The first edition of this stupendously vulgar audience-pleaser was DVD only, but now a limited-edition Blu-ray Disc edition is hitting shelves at the end of the year. Get it for a South Park fan who hasn't yet had their first taste of anime; the crossover may be easier than they think.
Soul Eater - The Complete Series (compare prices on Blu-ray/DVD). If someone you know missed out on this terrific fusion of Tim Burtonesque dark fantasy and anime action -- see our review for more details -- this is a perfect way to get caught up on the whole thing at once without breaking the bank.
Hellsing Ultimate Vols. 1-4 (compare prices) and 5-8 (compare prices). The first eight installments of the high-definition, high-octane, high-voltage and highly over-the-top revisitation of the Hellsing series has finally come to us in two convenient packages after endless delays. Pick 'em up for your favorite budding Nazi vampire hunter.
Steins;Gate: The Complete Series (compare prices). Available in two half-season sets (which drives the price up to over $100 for both, technically), this series is more than worth the cost -- it's one of the best things we've seen all year, as our reviews can tell you. Pick this one up for anyone who likes their SF with a twist of humor and pathos, or vice versa too.
Serial Experiments Lain: Complete Series (compare prices). Not just because it's a dizzying cyberpunk head-trip (see our review for more on that score), but because it's one of the most lovingly restored anime titles to hit shelves in English-speaking countries. Apart from the show itself, the set also includes a gigantic book of artwork and production material. For Philip K. Dick fans and aficionados of brainy sci-fi in general.
The Fate / Zero box sets (compare prices). These limited-edition items are strictly for the hardest-core of completists among the Fate / zero fans out there. The predecessor to Fate/stay night, the zero series depicts the events of ten years before, as seven mages clash in an attempt to size the Holy Grail. These sets include not only the episodes themselves, but a drama CD, artwork, additional production materials, and even a standalone English translation booklet. The massive pricetag is, well, massive -- $350 and up, depending on the store -- but self-justifying for any fan of the show.
All images courtesy Pricegrabber.